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Animal Terms in Children’s Metaphors

Published September 15, 1995

This research aims at showing that children shift their interpretation of the same metaphor according to the social role respectively of the speaker and the addressee of the sentence, to the degree of lexicalisation of the metaphor, and to their age. We chose the simplest type of metaphorical sentence, i. e., the ‘nominal’ one in the form 'X is a B', where X was a proper name and be an animal term. The twelve animal terms used produced six lexicalised and six new metaphors. Every metaphor was embedded in four different short stories describing the setting in which it was uttered: in the first speaker and the addressee were both children, in the second speaker was a child and the addressee was a teacher, in the third it was the reverse and in the last the speaker and the addressee were both teachers. The forty-eight tories obtained were told individually to seventy-two children aged six, nine and twelve. At the end of the story the experimenter asked the child what the speaker intended to mean, why, and whether he had positive or negative feelings for the addressee. The paraphrases the children gave for each metaphor were analysed with instruments typical of textual data analysis. Furthermore the data were tabulated as to the perceptual dimensions: shape, colour, sound, movement; physical or moral evaluation; and positive or negative connotation. On these data too several statistical analyses were performed. 

Publisher Lund University
Year 1995
Language English
Collection studiesinconsciousness; additional_collections


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